As many top clubs in Europe continue to pluck the best and brightest from the typical youth production pipelines of France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, and Argentina, Ukraine has quietly built a reputation for player development over the years that remains credible in its own right.
That chip on their shoulder could be set to increase tenfold after the rapid progression shown by 21-year-old break-out starlet Mykhailo Mudryk this season for domestic giants Shakhtar Donetsk.
Now on the radar screens of many top clubs across the continent in Europe’s top five leagues, many will wonder if his potential - and even probable - near future departure from Shakhtar will end in the same explosion seen by Georgian starlet Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at SSc Napoli this season.
Mudryk recently sat down with Ukrainian TV presenter, and journalist Vlada Zinchenko - wife of Gunners left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko - to discuss the recent transfer interest from across Europe and his feelings on the attention received from Arsenal’s fan base.
The Krasnohrad native mentioned the Gunners as one of the clubs he admires most this season due to their brand of football, stating “Napoli, they’re playing really well at the moment with some great players, Bayern, City & Arsenal.” When pressed on his attention given to Arsenal, he responded “Yeah. I check on them in ‘myscore’ & know when they’re playing I can check on them. I also watch them too. [Arsenal are] a very dynamic side, in general not just in controlling possession but also in scoring goals.”
The young winger then eluded to a preferential move to the Emirates over Spanish juggernaut Real Madrid; “From a purely theoretical/fantasy perspective if there was the option of being a bench player for Real Madrid or a starter for Arsenal, I’d probably choose Arsenal…it’s a tough question and involves a lot of factors in my answer.”
“I would first want to know from the head coach that even if I wasn’t a guaranteed starter, that I’d receive a chance. Essentially I need to hear directly from the manager what he envisages my role to be in his side (to influence such a decision).”Open in new window
And with Arsenal remaining credibly linked with the 21-year-old as Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar look to add further quality in depth to reinforce their title charge in the Premier League as well as a hopeful deep run in the Europa League, Arsenal fans continue to reach out to Mudryk to express their desire for him to choose north London as his next port of call; something that he himself appreciates.
“One surprise for me was how many Arsenal fans followed me. No other club’s fans have interacted as much as them. Telling me that they are waiting for me, saying ‘Come to us’. 1 of my recent posts has over 500 comments saying that.”
Moreover, the technical winger gave one simple answer when it came to if he would be disappointed if he did not get a move away from Shakhtar this summer; “Yes!”
Have the stars aligned for Arsenal to add another young attacking player under Arteta with high potential? We will have to wait and see.
Thank you to Zorya Londonsk for their translation thread on Twitter.